Social networks and cyber-bullying among teenagers
In the digital society, even if ICT offers new opportunities and benefits to teenagers, it also poses significant challenges to them. More and more teenagers are becoming victims of aggression via ICT. In Europe, among the 9-16 year-old participants in the EU Kids Online survey (2011): 33% were bothered or upset by inappropriate material online, 12% were bothered or upset meeting online contacts offline, and 80% were fairly or very upset by cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying does not respect borders but perception of the problem strongly depends on aspects including the culture, the history, the... social context and political history of the country or area in question. In Europe, in order to prevent cyber-bullying, policy decisions have been taken and numerous programmes have been defined and implemented. Nevertheless, the impact that this phenomenon has means that European institutions need to continue to research, to legislate and to encourage collective and individual actions in order to address it. The Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen (IPSC) of the Joint Research Centre has organised a workshop on ‘Social Networks and cyber-bullying in the teenager population’. The aim of the workshop was to explore the ethical challenges arising from social networks for specific sectors of the population, namely individuals with limited legal capacity in order to support European Commission policies in this field. With the experts that were invited to this workshop, several recommendations were proposed. The workshop as showed that there are very urgent matters to deal with, beyond the current focus on privacy as far as ethical issues about ICT are concerned. What values are different generations willing to preserve? How are digital rights being reframed with the current appropriation of technology? Is duty of care the ethical value that will pervade and will be worth cultivating?